Whether it be pretentious or not, I don't feel qualified to say, because I could only read it on a "quick skim" basis. Oh, I started out at the usual pace, but when I came to the part (which was very near the top) about how the girl could feel her excessive ugliness affronting the successive layers of air, but that other days she was more hopeful - well, I switched into fast-forward mode at that point, thinking "okay, okay - where's the card trick?"
I was a bit concerned, because I just started presenting Out Of This World. I received a request to do an all-seance show for a teenage girl's slumber party (and I feel justified here in gloating about my exclusive access to this particular market, lads!) and had but one measly seance effect in my repertoire. In planning the program, I realized that many effects which are not intended for seance use could be presented as such, just by blaming any magic on a ghost's agency.
I included Out Of This World at the beginning of the program to demonstrate that the girls were all experiencing the proper psychic connection with the world of spirit. We went through the deck, with each girl laying down four or five cards. Before revealing the result, I explained that sheer chance would give us 50% accuracy, and that anything over, say, 65% correct would show that there was more than sheer chance involved. Needless to say, more than sheer chance was definitively proven.
Since I know that I could not understand or present Out Of This World based on the information given in the story, I'm going to go ahead and assume that the local teen girls couldn't either, even if they chanced to read The New Yorker and managed to make their way through the tale, which I hope they didn't, and not just because of the exposure issue.